Whether it is 1-2 weeks of unstructured time during winter break or 6-8 weeks during summer break, you might find yourself wondering if children forget their education when they are off from school. The answer, of course, is complicated. What question about children has a simple answer?!

Children might backslide a little during time off from school, but every child is different. However, we always recommend that you infuse education into your child’s daily life so they grow up with a love of learning and a sense of curiosity about the world around them. Keep reading to understand our tips for how to combat learning loss while your child is off from school.

How much do kids forget over school break?

According to research done by NWEA, the average student loses 17–34% of the prior year’s learning over summer break. But, it is extremely important to remember that teachers are aware that their students come back from break and need refreshers on what was learned. Even shorter time off from school like winter and spring break require quick reviews upon returning to school.

Looking for some guidance to help your kids adjust to going back to school? Check out our guide!

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How do you prevent your kids from losing what they’ve learned in school during vacation?

Whether you are staying home and looking to plan winter break activities and summer activities for your children or taking a trip as a family, there are a lot of great opportunities to infuse education into their time off from school.

As a reminder, though, this is their much-needed and well-earned vacation time. It should feel like a break for them and for you. Instilling an interest in lifelong learning is important for your child, but resting is, too. Do not let the education portion of your child’s time off from school feel forced because it might cause frustration and pushback.

Instead, we recommend a few ways to prevent your kids from losing what they’ve learned in school during vacation while still having fun.

Talk to their teacher beforehand

Take a look at their coursework and speak with their teacher before the time off to see if they can recommend a non-screen based game or activity book that reinforces what they have been studying in school. Incentivize your child to participate in this game or the activities during their school break. You can also play one of these learning games for kids to help them stay sharp while having a blast.

Build in learning opportunities naturally

If you are traveling, take this as an opportunity to find fun and interesting educational activities in the new places you are visiting with your family. For example, if your child is learning about plants, visit a greenhouse or take a walk in nature. Discuss what you are seeing and when you return back to your room, find more educational resources around that topic so they can continue to learn about it. For more family travel tips, see our article.

Use independence as a learning experience

If you have a younger child who is practicing their counting, writing, and reading as well as just learning about money, time off from school can be a great way to show them where these important skills come into play. Have them pay for their own ice cream and count the change they receive, let them read the map or descriptions at a museum or park, or ask them to write down everyone’s orders for dinner. Help them through the task as needed. Keep the tasks small and fun to avoid frustration. If they push back a lot, recognize their need for a break and allow it.

Lean into what they already love

Learning shouldn’t be a chore. If your child is a writer, then ask them to write a short story about what they did that day on vacation or during their school break. If they love to draw, bring their sketchbook with you to the museum or out into the backyard so they can draw the birds and plants they see. The list goes on. Since they are off from school, let them focus their experiential learning on what they already love doing.

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Can winter break camps and summer camps help combat learning loss?

Keeping your child active and having fun during their time off from school is a great way to combat learning loss. Winter camps for kids are in-person and online school break camps in a variety of subjects like art, ballet, STEM, cooking, and so much more. Children can spend time during their winter break learning a new skill and interacting with new friends and mentors. This helps keep them on a routine and ready to return to school when the break is over.

Likewise, there are so many fun summer camp types and summer activities for kids that will keep your children having fun, learning, and growing while school is out. Summer camp is a great opportunity for children to learn responsibility and independence as well as develop new skills and continue to be curious. There are music & art camps, sports camps, STEM & STEAM camps, and so many more types of camps that your child will love!

With the above tips, you should feel more comfortable and confident helping your child continue learning about their favorite subjects so they avoid learning loss when they are off from school. Just remember that it is completely normal, and very necessary, for children to take time to rest and decompress when they are on school break. Keep it light and fun and your child might not even realize that they are learning!

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If you are looking for enriching and interactive in-person and online activities for your child, the educators on Sawyer have thousands of options to choose from. Help your child discover their own love of learning.

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